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Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Of Devotions and Devotion

Back to that novena...

I'm growing to understand that the suppression of devotions (de facto, not de jure,) besides the cataclysmic effect on the Liturgy (into which all manner of inappropriate activity is now shoe-horned, and to which all manner of inappropriate preference is now applied,) has had a deleterious effect on Catholic formation, because all kinds of Large Truths were contained in their occasional kitschinesses or sillinesses.
The novena I played for last week is to the Sorrowful Mother.
It obviously touches these people where they live (I suspect it dates from when another war was raging, and other mothers and grandmothers were mourning the deaths of other sons.)
Now, granted the songs are mostly horrifically awful. (Good Night, Sweet Jesus, for one, which I had heretofore only known by reputation.)
But the prayers and the sentiments are perfectly fine (several of our priests object to the "thees" and "thys" but I think that says less to the discredit of the novena prayers than to themselves.)
The little truths it teaches point to Him Who is Truth.
And if it didn't deepen their knowledge of theology, or their love of archaeologically correct liturgy, it clearly inspired a devotion and a commitment to the Faith that has lasted..... oh, eighty or ninety years.
People who continued to profess and practice, or at least have a decent shame for their lapses in practice, with none of the "I don't think you have to go to church to be a good person...," or, "Sure I'm Catholic, but I don't think you have to believe what the Church teaches to call yourself 'Catholic,'" prevarications that have become common as dirt.
People who never experienced the "falling away" that "always" happens to young people, (we reassure ourselves to ease our worries about the way whatever the Church is doing is cause her to hemorrhage practicing members. )
People who understood that their were consequences to practicing the Faith.
Which they could only know if they did not deny that there were consequences for NOT practicing the Faith.
That's what these maligned devotions helped to do, and the people who suppressed them have much for which to answer.

Toby has never understood that when I struggle against using Cheez in the Liturgy, that I am not trying to suppress its use, only its use in Liturgy.
Sing any crap you want (that is not contrary to the Faith,) if it helps you, comfort you, energizes you, in RelEd class, around a campfire at retreat, at your prayer breakfast, for the Kindergarten Graduation, for a 9-11 memorial service.
Don't introduce it into Mass.
I am guilty of some of this with the choir, because their practices are so ingrained and going even as far as I went caused a rebellion. But I have tried to move some of the more beloved but objectionable, or new but inappropriate sugar cubes, (chosen to charm,) into those pre-Mass and post-Mass slots that are part of their established praxis. (So yeah, "Holy City" before Mass sometime.... NOT as the Offertory anthem, on Palm Sunday : can you imagine?!?$?%?#?? that triumphant bombast after the reading of the Passion?)
Two points that bear further thought and discussion, one that just came to me.... Lifeteen, for instance, would have been swell if it had been created as a devotion ... after Mass.

And the other, my old hobby-horse, don't make things up and call them Liturgy. (I am pleased to note that what used to be called "All Soul's VESPERS" is now billed as "All Souls Memorial Service." M. is sharp and intent upon doing, and consequently in learning what IS, the right thing. They are lucky to have her.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you, and this is why I get annoyed with people who bash Glory & Praise or Gather. That music may be bad, but so is country, and rap, and pop music. What's wrong with some old baby boomer getting out their 6-string and strumming out a crappy song about God? Nothing, I'd say. Just don't force it on the liturgy, because it doesn't belong THERE.

I myself recently got some CD samples from OCP of their "hymnal" music. Rather than getting angry about it or carrying out an immature destructive act, I went up to one of my choristers and said "I know you like this sort of music, so here you go," and gave her the CDs to listen to and benefit from. And just so I couldn't be accused of being nice I added, "You may as well enjoy them, because you sure as hell won't hear them at Mass." :P


Anonymous said...

Ah, but Gather, I gather, bills itself as useful for the Liturgy.

And yet it has many ersatz "Masses" that play fast and loose with the prescribed, no one has the right to f*** with it, actual text of the Mass.

And nary a single "psalm" (I probably exaggerate,) that is licit.

So I think Gather-bashing is a wholesome sport, and should be played intramurally at Catholic schools.
Same with Spirit and Song.

Glory and Praise I have not seen except as the product of an archeological dig at a closed convent, with plastic covers.